Daniel Ricciardo admits his future in Formula 1 is unclear after his early departure from McLaren, but insists that he still has the necessary determination to compete in the sport.
McLaren has opted to terminate Ricciardo’s contract one year before its original end date, reaching a mutual agreement with the 33-year-old to part ways at the end of this season. Ricciardo concedes the situation is “not great, it’s bittersweet for sure” and that he doesn’t know what his next move will be.
“Obviously we put in a lot of effort on both sides but it just hasn’t worked the way we wanted so the team’s decided to make a change for next year,” Ricciardo said. “We had a lot of discussions, but in the end we mutually agreed that this is the right thing for both of us. I will continue to do the rest of this year, absolutely, and I’ll continue to give it my all. So that’s that.
“I think for the future, what lies ahead, I’m not sure yet, but we’ll see. I look back on this time with McLaren, I look back with a smile. I learned a lot about myself, I think things that will help me for the next step in my career but I think just in general in life.
“From a results point of view, for sure, to consistently get the results and the form I was after, it wasn’t always there and it made some weekends tough. I felt those, absolutely, but I also have many happy memories of my time at the team. I think about Monza, I think about standing on the top step, I think about bringing the team their first win since 2012 — that sort of stuff was awesome. To see the smiles from everyone’s faces, to be in that moment, that’s something I’ll never forget, so yes, there’s a lot of good stuff to take from this as well.”
Despite the uncertainty, Ricciardo is expected to have the option to potentially return to Alpine, while Haas, Alfa Romeo and Williams also have unconfirmed seats, and he says F1 is still his goal.
“The sport, I still love it. This hasn’t affected any of that. I still have that fire in me, that belief in my belly, that I can do this at the highest level. So yes, all that stuff is still there. I just wanted to say I appreciate everyone’s support from the highs, to the lows — everything in between. This isn’t it for me. We’ll see what lies ahead.”